[ppml] alternative realities (was PIv6 for legacy holders (/w RSA + efficient use))

Paul Vixie paul at vix.com
Wed Aug 1 01:49:47 EDT 2007

in <D03E4899F2FB3D4C8464E8C76B3B68B0C47F64 at E03MVC4-UKBR.domain1.systemhost.net>
(that's a message-id), michael dillon did a fine job of explaining why a market
might not form, in answer to david conrad's answer to my question ("why will a
market form").  i have only one further response to what drc wrote:

> So, from my perspective, it would seem the conditions are ripe for a market.
> The question then becomes, why wouldn't a market form? I haven't been able
> to come up with a convincing reason.

because there are no goods or services.  ip addresses aren't property, and
the right to use them isn't an asset once you divorce it from an ip network
that's using those addresses.  i didn't make that rule -- david conrad did,
or at least, david conrad participated in writing down the rule which had
predated his work in founding APNIC.  see RFC 2052.

an offer to sell ip addresses or to sell the right to use them is, to me, an
admission that one no longer needs to use those ip addresses to connect
devices to the internet.  since connecting the devices to the internet was
the purpose of all allocations throughout time, both in ARIN and other RIRs,
and for both RIR and pre-RIR ("legacy") assignments, i would view an attempt
to sell that right to use, as an abrogation of that right to use.

but in all the assertions of a market's inevitability, and even among the
excellent falsifications provided yesterday by william ferrin, noone other
than michael dillon has challenged the basic assertion that there are goods
and/or services to be marketed.  instead we argue about whether there's a
finite supply and what that might mean, we argue about whether the market
could be liquid or not... but the fact that MIT would be sued eighteen ways
in the first week and nineteen on sunday if showed up on e-bay
is like a great white elephant in the room, that most of you don't want to
talk about, except michael dillon, whom most of you seem to be ignoring.

note: arin's board of trustees has not stated a position on this topic, and
if they were to state one, i would not be the spokesman.  i am speaking
my own mind here, and have taken off my trustee hat for this message.

david continued:

> I don't have a strong opinion on whether the markets are efficient.
> However, given a market already exists, albeit one that is buried under the
> need to buy/sell companies which hold IP address assets, I'm not sure how
> you can say they aren't inevitable.

i can say that the fixed costs of the fraud that has to be perpetrated in
order to circumvent policy to transfer an ip address block, are fairly high,
and function as a transaction cost, which is to say a barrier to transfer.
as such, they do some good in protecting the routing table, since blocks
smaller than a /21 are probably not worth the fixed transaction overhead of
the fraud involved.  removing those fixed costs, to transform what is now a
black market into a normal "market", is not on my list of things to wish for.

> And just to be perfectly clear, I don't necessarily consider this a good
> thing.  The creation of the entities known as "domainers" is a perfect
> example of the risks of market driven economics.  However, it isn't clear to
> me that playing King Canute and demanding the tide not come in is a good
> stewardship nor a good way to address those risks.

having ARIN play king canute is likewise not on my list of things to wish for.

but, i am not a fatalist.  to me, the future is not cast.  we may have
alternatives and we should investigate them.  we also have a status quo that
may have benefits unseen by many, and we should not discard it lightly.

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